I can hardly believe it! Six months ago I was fired after a successful 16+ year career. Time has flown by and changes have accelerated to the point where I’m feeling a bit lost on this journey. While I’ve moved on and embraced the new reality, part of me feels angry and betrayed. And then there’s the loneliness part. Soon Halloween will be here, one of favorite times of year and the one holiday that my child and I embraced. But she’s not here. Even though I had a grand time with friends in Florida last month, I’m feeling overwhelmed with all the loose ends on creating the Early Exit Academy. And I’m not thrilled with the outflow of money. I’ll admit it – I’m freakin’ a bit!
Last year, four friends and I began making plans to visit the amusement parks in Orlando, Florida. In September, we made a mad rush around Epcot, Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom. It didn’t take us long before we wondered aloud, “what were we thinking?” We put 13.5 miles on our feet on the very first day, and all but Theme Park King Chuck ended up with blisters (these Band-Aids were life savers). At some point, our fun time felt like work! Note to self: schedule some down time into the next trip!
Traveling with friends in your 50s requires a few extra steps. First, we each had our own bedroom and bathroom. We could decompress each night. Second, we shared responsibilities. No one had to pick up after anyone else and we had an unspoken agreement to share chores. Third, a sense of humor was essential. We had one communication snafu involving misinterpreted text messages. So we talked about it and realized that each group was trying to be considerate of the other, and in doing so, we just muddied up the decision-making waters. I’m happy to report that we remain friends and are considering another amusement park-themed trip.
It turns out, I’m not quite over the way my employer tossed me out the door. They demonstrated zero compassion by taking such a punitive action without talking to ME about the turn of events. Just a few days ago, I parked in the old work lot as closer lots were filled to capacity. I turned toward the building and gave it the middle finger salute! So yea, I’m not over it.
That doesn’t mean I’m not embracing my new life. I still believe being fired has given me license to spread my wings and divert my passion to helping others become financially free. And I’m thankful for the opportunities that I had with my former employer to build my career and to live in a lovely place. I remain grateful for the work experience, but I wish the ending hadn’t been so abrupt and mean-spirited. Truthfully, I’m obsessed with re-inventing my life and I know that over time, I WILL get over it!
My 21 year-old child started a new job in the Grand Canyon on May 1. I wasn’t sure how long she’d keep the job, so I’m proud that she remains fully employed and ensconced in her new life. Our relationship had been rocky for some time. As a single mom, I needed her to contribute to the household and to show some initiative. And she needed direction in her life. So I helped her land this job, which put her thousands of miles from home. While I’ve adjusted, the month of October is reminding me of the good times we had celebrating Halloween, and loneliness has set in.
One of the things I’ve learned over the last few years is that it’s okay to feel sad or depressed or lonely. So I’m giving in to my emotions and taking some steps to pull myself out of the swamp. Every Thursday, I meet with a group of entrepreneurs to talk about our challenges and successes, and that’s been helpful. And then I have my wonderful master naturalist friends and our volunteer outings that put a smile on my face – did I mention that I’m the bat squad leader? It turns out, I’ve also benefited from my own 30-Day Walking Challenge. Each day I walk for at least 30 minutes and take a photo to post to my FB page. I’ve become more observant of my environment and feel a little more connected to my readers. So I’ll keep moving forward. And I’ll send my kid a Halloween package to let her know I love her and miss her.
I wasn’t looking forward to sharing my net worth report. After saving and investing a big chunk of my paychecks for over 20 years, these days I’m pulling money to cover my living expenses and to invest in the Early Exit Academy. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Well, I’m pleasantly surprised to report that six months after being fired, my net worth exceeds April’s figure. Big sigh of relief!
In April, my net worth was $1,143,202. Six months later, without an income, it’s $1,168,342. Two-thirds of my net worth comes from my retirement funds, which are invested rather conservatively in Vanguard (52% stocks/48% money market). I’ll be playing a bit of defense with this portfolio, as the stock market rally is showing signs of aging and I can’t afford a big loss. Overall, I’m pretty happy with my net worth.
I feel as if I’ve been on a rollercoaster the last six months, experiencing enormous highs and lows. Where will I be six months from now? I hope I can spend more time having fun and enjoying the flexibility I now have. But I know the next three months are going to be intense. I’ve set things in motion to build out the Early Exit Academy website, finalize my preview webinar, design the graphics, develop the courses and companion downloads, and draft marketing materials. It’s a huge workload – I’ve set a January 1 launch date for the Early Exit Academy for Young Escape Artists (the version for Mid-life Dreamers should be ready in February/March). My goal is to open the website for discounted pre-sales in December. So in six months, I’ll have a pretty good sense on how well the Academy does both financially and substantively.